I did enjoy this rather marvellous little feature which was sent to me, I think, by reader Ferrolano. It tells you all you need to know about Spain's phoney boom. As I write this, I shake my head in wonder that there were readers who disagreed with me, a few years back, that the boom would end in a huge bust and that property prices would inevitably fall.
But, anyway, here's a bit more about Barcelona's scintillating dismemberment of Manchester United last night:- "With due sensitivity to the raw emotions of the United fans, this was a victory for football. Messi’s brilliance, his constant scheming and fine goal, will prove to all youth-team coaches that small is beautiful, that clubs do not need a supply of six-foot athletes. Messi, ably assisted by Xavi and Andrés Iniesta, showed the world how the game should be played: elegantly, inventively, relentlessly. Messi is the ultimate role model for football: as humble as he is nimble. He is a reminder of the importance of a professional dedicating himself to his craft."
And just a bit more:- "For 24 hours, the world got its game back. And Barcelona, without a scintilla of doubt the team of the moment, eclipsed Manchester United with a 3-1 victory that left no room for equivocation. More important than victory was the message that, when left to players, this most global game can still be what many dream it to be."
Being only five foot eight myself - the same height as George Best, I noticed when I once bumped into him on a flight to Manchester - I have always loved the fact that football/soccer could be played by people of any size. Something which I seem to recall reading recommended it to American soccer mums, who were a tad worried about their little ones playing the roughhouse game known as American football.
On Sundays, as I head for Vegetables Square, I always pass a bearded tramp-cum-bagman who stands in a corner of the main square, jangling change in his left hand. But today the close weather seems to have got the better of him.
Either that or change-jangling is a lot more strenuous that I would've thought.
Here's an article on what happens when "An artificial market is created by a political whim. . . Swathes of British countryside are being sacrificed to save the Chinese from having to close even one coal-burning power station." Much the same is happening here, of course. With the added element of corruption.
Finally . . . Here's a sketch of me, done by my very old friend David. My daughters say it catches the essence of me. Whatever that means . . .